View Full Version : Help updating an old toilet.

09-19-2012, 09:23 PM
I recently purchased an older home (built in the 50's) and I'm in the process of updating a bathroom. The toilet is an American Standard 4086 tank with a Sloan Flushmate. The toilet is in perfect working order, however we have a newborn baby and my wife can't stand how loud this toilet is when flushing. I'm fairly handy so I decided to replace the guts of the toilet (Fill valve, flush valve, gaskets, etc.). I used a Korky Water Wise Adjustable Fill Valve (No. 528Z) and a Korky 3" Adjustable Flush Valve (No. 5030). I reassembled everything, following the instructions for adjusting both the height of the Fill valve and the Flush Valve. Turned the water back on. The tank filled up and shut off as expected. So far so good.

Now the baffling part. When I try to flush the toilet, the flapper on the flush valve opens, but the tank doesn't drain. There are a few big "gurgles". The tank level does go down, but only about 2 to 3 inches after 30 seconds. There is no visible change in the level of the toilet bowl. This tank level change causes the fill valve to open, but since the flapper is still open, the water just keeps running, eventually shutting off as the level in the tank rises to kick off the fill valve. Still the flapper is open. So after 30 seconds, the tank level drops and the whole cycle repeats.

The good news is there are no leaks, but why is there no force behind my flush? I've rebuilt toilets before and haven't had any problems. The only new piece to this equation is the Sloan Flushmate. Is there something inherently different in the base of the 4086 toilet that is causing the problem? Any suggestions? Should I just pony up and buy a new toilet?


Gary Swart
09-19-2012, 10:48 PM
Frankly, I don't have a clue as to why your old toilet isn't flushing as it should. Now I realize that spending another persons money is quite easy, but here's goes anyway. That old toilet even if repaired and operating is wasting at least 1.5 gallons of water every flush and perhaps even more depending on its age. Many areas offer a rebate for replacing these old water hogs with a new low flow unit so the cost can be quite reasonable. I would suggest you go to the top of this forum's page and click on "Toilet Reviews", then on "Shopping" and finally on "Toto Toilets". There you can see most of the toilets in the Toto line and view their specs. Toto is the largest manufacturer of toilets in the world and has refined the low flow flushing to an art. Many of the old line brands tried to use their old designs with less water which of course didn't work. This gave low flow a bad reputation which still prevails among the uninformed. Toto on the other hand reconfigured the inner working of the toilet so it performs like a toilet should with less water. Some models now are down to 1.28 gallons per flush and a new model is coming out very soon that uses even less! The 1.6 versions are still very popular. Toto toilets are as close to being non-clogging. Most of use owners don't even own a plunger. Toto toilets are not sold in Big Box stores, but they are available from plumbing shops either from stock or order. Online purchasing is another possibility, but if you go that route, open the carton(s) and inspect them very carefully before accepting delivery. Breakage is fairly high when shipping individual toilets. Even if you are successful in getting the old toilet functioning, I would opt for retiring it ASAP.

09-19-2012, 11:27 PM
Pressure-assisted toilets have a different bowl design than gravity toilets. They are designed to accept water forced into them with greater pressure. You can't retrofit a gravity toilet with a pressure tank, because the water would spray everywhere. Apparently, you have proven the converse -- a pressure bowl won't work with a gravity tank...

I should say that the difference isn't primarily in the trapway; it is in the way the water gets from the tank to the bowl rim and siphon jet -- exactly where your problem is...

The Toto Drake is a superb, economical, quiet gravity-flush toilet. See the reviews of the Drake CST744S above. Don't be put off by its list price. You can find it at a price comparable or even less than what you would pay for a Champion or Cadet at a big-box store.

It's hard to screw up that Korky kit, of which I have installed a few. It's not you; it's the bowl design.

Gary Swart
09-20-2012, 01:57 PM
I did not realize this old toilet was a pressure assisted flush. All the more reason to replace it. Pressure assisted flushing was/is a gimmick to make a poor design function. Toto does not make a pressure assisted toilet because their designs negate the need for them.

09-20-2012, 03:19 PM
The Flushmate pushes water where it needs to go under pressure when you flush...it just won't get there via gravity so you cannot convert the things - if you want a quieter toilet, you need a new toilet.

09-20-2012, 03:44 PM
Thanks for the responses. It is nice to know that I'm not crazy!